Regional Verification Mechanism (EJVM) starts investigations on Burundian combatants captured in Rwanda

On 6 October 2020 at 12:00

The Expanded Joint Verification Mechanisms (EJVM) on 5 October 2020, embarked on conducting investigations in Ruheru sector, Nyaruguru, Rwanda following Rwanda Defence Force’s invitation regarding the captured RED Tabara combatants.

A team of five EJVM members was received and briefed by Maj Alexis Nkuranga, the RDF 1 Infantry Battalion Commanding Officer on how RED Tabara’s combatants were apprehended. He told them that RED Tabara combatants on 29 October 2020 at 10 am, crossed Burundian border in Nyungwe forest and fell in an ambush of 1 Inf Bn soldiers where all were immediately arrested, disarmed and escorted to rear areas for further investigations.

Col Rigobert Ibouanga, the EJVM team leader, on his part informed the media that their mission was to verify and report back to EJVM Command on the cross-border incident.

“Our mission here today is to investigate the incident and thereafter we will submit the report on 7 October 2020 to the EJVM Hierarchy”, the team leader disclosed.

He also said that the cross-border incident shall be discussed during the next International Conference on the Great Lakes Region Chiefs of Defence Staff meeting.

Nkurunziza Egide, the Commander of the captured RED Tabara Combatants told the media that they infiltrated into Burundi from South Kivu DRC via Lake Tanganyika on 23 August 2020 and since then they were fighting against Burundi Defence Forces and Imbonerakure militias. He narrated how on 29 September 2020, were arrested by the RDF after found themselves on the Rwandan territory.

The Commander responded that since they were not familiar with terrain, they didn’t recognise whether they had crossed into Rwanda and consequently, they fell into an ambush laid by RDF troops along Rwanda-Burundi border in Nyungwe forest.